Day 15 Via Egnatia – bears and wolves?

We set off after a really good breakfast from our posh digs  at “Sumski Feneri” in Trnovo under blissfully sunny cool skies. Perfect fall mountain weather. Our walk today was much nicer than yesterday. We only clambered through one smallish garbage dump that I recall (mind you it did stink) and the villages we went through were more prosperous and pleasant as well. We stopped for a groceries at a very dumpy shop but managed to get a loaf of yesterday’s bread and some Happy Cow cheese. To call that stuff cheese is a bit of a stretch but it serves it’s purpose and we’ve consumed a fair bit on this trip. We made such good time walking that we ate lunch in the garden of our current hostel.

For those of you twitch at the word hostel – we have a large private room with private bathroom and piping hot water.  It is right beside the main pedestrian street about a 1 minute walk from four restaurants. And as just mentioned it has a garden for sitting in. Cost 25.00 euro per room per night. Just saying – accommodation doesn’t need to be expensive to be really nice.

I forgot to tell you about a funny couple of moments from a couple of days ago when we crossed the Palister Mountain range. As we were walking I noticed some very huge dog tracks. Fresh and no human tracks anywhere to be seen. I wondered to myself if there were wolves in the area – but figured it was not likely. I mean wolves just don’t live in this part of Europe do they? Meanwhile Pat is going through the same mental processes. Neither of us say anything about our obviously overly wild imaginings. Later we see an enormous pile of scat. “Wow” I say to Pat, “If this  was at home I’d say there was a really big bear near by.” Pat agrees. We figure some horse must have been having serious digestion problems and carried on in blissful ignorance.

Later on Pat noticed a National Park sign that lists the animals in the area …. Lynx, red fox, lizard, wolf, brown bear. Yup….. Wolves and bears do live here too! We chuckled to yourselves thinking how completely un-bear aware we’d been as we’d  walked through an area more remote (wild) than we’d realized. Pat commented that no wonder the shepherds keep such close watch over their sheep and cows and have so many dogs to aid in that process.

Frankly we’d been more concerned about a pair of fellows we’d seen earlier. They creeped us out. We decided we were witnessing some sort of illicit liaison but in actuality it was probably a nice pair of young men on a mission to cut fire wood for their grannies. One’s mind can come up with odd ideas sometimes.

We walked to Bitola yesterday. It is a really pleasant town so we are staying here two nights. As is usual in this part of the world there are numerous chirches and mosques. Wide pedestrian only streets are lined with cafes and restaurants. A vibrant fruit and vegetable market was doing a brisk business this morning. Life takes place outside. Unlike in Albania, women in Macedonia seem to enjoy promanading and dressing up as much as the men. The cafes are busy – with families, rather than just indolent young and old men. There are still derelict buildings but less of them. The shops are better stocked and there is more variety of goods for sale.

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First Picture is our hostel here in Bitola.

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